L.A. boutique shutdowns, Luxury spending rules, Ideeli’s recession proof retail model, Sales plummet in December

Store fronts on Rodeo Drive, photo courtesy of WWD.

L.A. Specialty Boutiques Rocked by Shutdowns (WWD) In LA, troubled boutiques are closing in droves. The New Rules Of Luxury Spending (Forbes) “Today’s high-net-worth consumers are still spending–but they’re putting more thought into their purchases.” Ideeli.com, Ideal Online Shopping? (JC Report) Ideeli’s invitation only online retail model is proving to be recession proof. Retail Sales Tumbled

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CEO Talk | Priya Kishore, Founder and Creative Director, Bombay Electric

Priya Kishore, a beacon for Bombay's new creative elite, courtesy of Bombay Electric

NEW DELHI, India – When Priya Kishore and Bombay Electric hit Mumbai a few years ago, Mumbaikars didn’t know what was coming. No sooner had Kishore arrived than she became a beacon for Bombay’s new creative elite – one with a rightful place on the world stage. A friend while she lived in London, Priya always had this wonderful creative streak, dressed in quirky clothes and popping colours. No wonder Mumbai

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Buenos Aires: Retail explosion

Buenos Aires is a city better known as the home of the Tango, but one day it may become known as the land of the killer retail concept. Across this metropolis of 11 million people, from the uber-cool urban jungle in Palermo Viejo to the elegant boulevards of Recolota, a retail explosion has taken place, proving that Argentina has truly bounced back from the economic crisis that virtually paralysed the country at the beginning of the millennium. Our favourite barrio (and everyone else’s) is Palermo Soho, named for one of its urban brethren in New York. The intersection of El Salvador and Armenia is analagous to Spring and Mercer, the heart from which all the action emanates. But that’s where…

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Discreet Luxury: This is slow fashion

There was quite a bit of interest our recent post  Discreet Luxury - A Segment to watch. Stealth wealth consumers want something special and discreet and therefore reject obvious logos, product ubiquity and sameness. Though the category is dominated by thousands of small, independent brands, Bottega Veneta is the one global brand that has been emblematic of how well this can work from a business standpoint. This video supplements a Wall Street Journal article entitled Inside a Salon that Serves the Logo-Phobic and takes you inside Yuta Powell's discrete luxury boutique in New York's Plaza Athénée Hotel (I didn't know New York had its own Plaza Athenee either!). The store stocks niche luxury brands like Boudicca, Azzaro and Kiton and…

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Rodeo and Robertson: Build it, and they will come

After having checked out some of the more up-and-coming areas of L.A, it was time to visit the king and queen of luxury and fashion here: Rodeo Drive and Robertson Boulevard. The most remarkable thing about both these streets is that the stores really are an extension of the brands themselves. In Paris, London and even New York, most brands are constrained by existing building facades and building codes which they must work around as they design their stores. In Los Angeles, it appears that the brands have complete freedom in design, and therefore, if done well, every aspect from the sparkling exteriors, the natural lighting, the size of logos outside the building, and even the dramatic entrances off the…

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Juma: Exploring contemporary-LAnd

To many die-hard fashionistas, Los Angeles has always been considered the less sophisticated, dressed-down, in your face, suburban, over-celebrity conscious little sister to New York, which has consistently retained its place amongst the world's fashion capitals.  However, our visit to L.A. has revealed an interesting mix of local designers and boutiques combined with the glossy global brands along Rodeo Drive. Driven by its native contemporary brands, L.A. is experiencing a fashion renaissance. Yesterday, I cruised around some upcoming fashion districts here with Jamil Juma, of Juma, which he designs with his sister Alia. Juma's collections (one fashion forward RTW, one activewear) are carried at more than 30 boutiques around North America, including Fred Segal  in L.A. and Caravan in NY.…

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Online fashion retail: A party without the cool kids

Every week there are reports of new online fashion retailers, but some of the biggest names in the UK are noticeably absent from the space. Selfridges and Harvey Nichols have essentially no online fashion businesses to speak of, while the venerable Harrods is selling a heavily edited mix of its lower-priced collections, with an emphasis on accessories, knitwear and outerwear only. All of this is even more surprising when you consider that many of the major American department stores, with similarly large profiles, have made heavy (and successful) pushes into the online space. Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Barney's all have online sites with a large fashion assortment for sale. What's more, many of the world's best known…

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Tom Ford in person: Go Beta First, New York

On my last trip to New York, I finally managed to see the new Tom Ford flagship store in person. After all of the hubbub about its "Hermes and Oprah" similarities, I wanted to judge for myself. Was Cathy Horyn right in criticising the high price-points as being out of reach even for the most discerning male customers? Was Horacio Silva on the mark for panning the store for its overly-exclusive environment? I'm afraid the answer is yes. In spades. For all of the talk about the luxurious feel of the store, I have to say it all felt quite ordinary to me. That is to say, it didn't feel different from most of the other masses of luxury stores…

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Feting Fetishism, Paris

Last night, legendary Parisian concept store Colette feted London designer Giles Deacon's latest collaboration with Mulberry -- a link to Giles' S/S 07 collection of 'subtle' fetishism. The place was rammed with fashionistas (there were a couple of other events going on). The Parisians are into colour-blocking these days, there was a lot of red, purple and electric blue peaking out of black blazers, leather jackets and dresses. Even the cocktails of the night were electric blue. Collaborations like this are good for emerging designers like Giles because they provide much needed cash to fund the business through working capital crunches, lend credibilty to designer's stature, and raise the profile of the designer on the back of PR events like…

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SoHo Shopping, New York

Many emerging designers get their initial support from the myriad small boutiques around the world that are trying to give their customers something a bit different; something they won't necessarily find in a department store. High-end boutiques also differ from their department store counterparts in that they really get involved in giving their customers advice and tips on the newest designers and styles. I took a walk through SoHo on Saturday with my friend Joan, a serious fashionista, who also spends a lot of her time scouring eBay for unique pieces that speak to her individuality. This is Joan camping out in front of some SoHo graffiti, wearing her first ever eBay fashion purchase, a shaggy shearling jacket that helps…

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